Aung San Suu Kyi expected to appear before Myanmar court today
Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to appear for hearing before a court in connection with criminal charges imposed by the country's military that could see her permanently debarred from political office.
The charges against her include illegally importing six handheld radios and breaching coronavirus protocols. The military has also accused her of bribery in two recent news conferences.
Her lawyers say the charges were trumped up and dismissed the accusation of bribery as a joke.
Suu Kyi was arrested on February 1, when Myanmar's military seized power. The military has justified the coup by saying that a November election won by Suu Kyi's party was fraudulent. The election commission said the vote was fair.
The reimposition of military rule after a decade of tentative steps towards democracy has triggered unrelenting opposition.
At least 521 civilians have been killed in protests, 141 of them on Saturday, the bloodiest day of the unrest, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
The United Nations' special envoy for Myanmar has warned that the country faces the possibility of civil war "at an unprecedented scale". Christine Schraner Burgener urged the UN Security Council to consider "potentially significant action" to reverse the February 1 military coup and restore democracy.
"Failure to prevent further escalation of atrocities will cost the world so much more in the longer term than investing now in prevention, especially by Myanmar's neighbours and the wider region," she said at a virtual briefing, according to news agency The Associated Press.
For five decades, Myanmar languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions.
As the generals loosened their grip, culminating in Aung San Suu Kyi's rise to power after 2015 elections, the international community responded by lifting most sanctions and pouring investment into the country.
(With inputs from agencies)